Skip to content

What?! All My Stories Got De-Curated

  • 8 min read

Stop scratching your head. Here’s the news.

I woke up today and my inbox was filled to the brim with:

All of my stories on Medium have been de-curated. What’s happening?

Sleepy….I rubbed my eyes and went on Twitter and there was Mind Cafe’s Submission Manager Bryan Dijkhuizen asking me the same.

So I asked my circle of Twitter writing friends this:

Based on this tweet, several DMs, and emails, I’m about to drop some news bombs 💣 100% fluff-free…in 3..2..1…

GIPHY

What’s curation?

As a little reminder, let me explain to you what “curation” or “distribution” really means on Medium.

Distribution is one of the biggest buzzwords in the community of Medium writers.

Distribution is when Medium’s human curators or its algorithmic distribution methods choose your story to share more widely with readers:

  • 1 — Highlighted: When a story is curated, it shows up on the tag page that it has been curated in, for instance, #Psychology. There are 73 tags eligible for curation.
  • 2 — Promotion: Once your story was hand-picked, it will be distributed to Medium members who follow those tags such as #Psychology and be promoted via Medium’s channels (on the homepage, in the apps, in their newsletters, and other emails)

Why is curation so important?

For most (new) writers curation is their holy grail.

Why?

  • Motivation — It’s a wonderful motivation boost to see that your story was hand-picked by Medium’s curators
  • Ego — It’s stroking a writer’s ego to be seen and selected.
  • Craft — It’s a sign that Medium’s curators favor your writing and think it meets their level of quality for additional distribution.
  • Success — Distribution can help your story get seen by more eyeballs and therefore can make more money.*

*If you’re shaking your head in disbelief…I hear you! We’ll talk about the downsides of curation in a few seconds.

Where can I see if my story was curated?

It usually looks like this:

old screenshot was taken a few months back

Under the title of your post it says:

“Chosen for further distribution.”

And in the graph below it says “distributed”.

old screenshot was taken a few months back

What’s going on with curation on Medium?

The Submission Manager of Mind Cafe shared one of his most successful stories with me which was chosen for further distribution.

To his surprise, today his Stats page showed this:

That’s what most writers sent me as a sign that their stories were de-curated.

What does de-curation mean?

De-curation means that Medium’s curation team decided to not distribute your story any further.

De-curation is really a thing on Medium. I know it from several of my students and it happened to me once too:

  • First, Medium curated a story it reached a wonderful peak, and then…
  • Second, the views dropped dramatically because Medium decided to not distribute it anymore.

Why does Medium de-curate stories?

As far as I know, this often happens when Medium thinks your headline is clickbaity.

Although I often wonder why they picked it in the first place then.

Another writer from P.S. I Love You (this pub closed its doors in summer 2021) once told me that she has been de-curated on a regular basis when she reached a specific number of views.

💣Is Medium de-curating stories right now?

From what I’ve seen and heard, Medium did not and does not de-curate stories — although at the first glance it looks like this because your Stats Page doesn’t say anymore

“Chosen for further distribution.”

So let’s come back to Bryan Dijkhuizen’s example.

It still shows “Distributed” in the graphic and there’s a dot on the day it was distributed.

My Takeaways from today

  • I assume his awesome hit is still “curated”
  • Medium just removed the “Chosen for further distribution” note at the top of the Stats Page.

💣Could it be a glitch?

Some writers think it’s a glitch as Pierce McIntyre shared with me:

Of course, it could be a glitch.

Oftentimes when Medium is in the middle of implementing something new or updating something, I discovered it was a (temporary) glitch.

However, this could also be a sign that Medium is right now in the process of changing the curation process from the ground up.

💣What’s new in regard to curation on Medium?

Let’s see what seems to be changing right now:

1 — Distributed and Featured

Paul Walker shared with me that something is clearly afoot.

He published a story today that shows “featured” on the graph where it usually says “distributed” (as shown in the examples above).

What does “featured” mean? As far as I know, you can be featured on Medium when you write about a specific topic or around a specific question that was asked by Medium’s Creators Hub. Amy Shearn who was one of the 29 employees Medium’s new CEO had to let go, used to share weekly writing prompts people such as my student T Mann loved.

Here’s more:

2 — Updated Distribution Standards

Although many writers say Medium is a magical, mystical wonderland where no one really has a clue what’s going on and distribution is a mystery, I say it’s not!

You just have to know what Medium is looking for.

When checking Medium’s Distribution Standards, I saw that they were updated… today, on September 21, 2022.

What’s new?

I once shared a Curation Checklist which I use on a regular basis.

As far as I know, nothing has changed — except the introduction of the Help Center story emphasizing the importance of “quality” content.

But maybe there will soon be more updates.

3 — Less Curation

As shared several times within the last past weeks, Tony Stubblebine said over and over again that he’ll “raise the bar” in regard to curation. He explained that too many stories are getting curated (and that’s why people often complain they don’t see an uptick in their stats when distributed).

So my conclusion is that he’ll curate less in the near future. I heard from several writers that their curation rate is down since July 2022.

Here’s more:

Final Takeaways

You’ve done nothing wrong when you think you got de-curated by Medium.

Curation is still in place (it’s not dead) but they removed the note “chosen for further distribution”.

If that’s just a glitch and this change will only be temporary or if this is already a sign for upcoming changes is unclear.

Apparently, Medium is working in the backend on optimizing the Stats Pages and curation in general.

Tony wants to raise the bar and show its paying members more quality stories plus reward writers more by making curation great again.

Good thing? Bad thing?

GIPHY

Who knows?!

I’m curious. What do you think about curation on Medium and have you experienced any other news?

PS: Let’s connect on Twitter to keep in touch and exchange news.

© Kristina God

Kristina God is 25x Top Writer and one of Medium’s Top 1,000 Writers.
She loves to share her Medium 101’s, hacks as well as tips and tricks with new writers.
👉 Follow her on Medium, Twitter, and Quora.
👉
Get her'Medium 101' newsletter with daily tips and tricks 📨!
👉
Become a Medium member here!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *